The back of your neck includes the cervical spine and ligaments and muscles that surround the spine and help support the neck. The cervical spine comprises of lots of bones called vertebrae. The sides of the vertebrae link by small facet joints and between each of the discs which acts as a shock absorber and allows the spine to move.
What is spondylosis?
Spondylosis is age-related degeneration (wear and tear) of the bones (vertebrae) and discs in the neck often occurring after 30 years old. The majority of people develop degeneration however some people have more degeneration than others.
Spondylosis cannot be cured however effective physiotherapy can help to manage symptoms and allow you to be as pain free as possible.
What causes spondylosis?
There is no specific cause of spondylosis, everybody is different and it is dependent on how much wear and tear your bones experience. Repeated trauma may contribute to the development of spondylosis as an increased incidence has been found in patients who frequently carried heavy loads on their shoulders or heads and dancers or gymnasts.
What are the symptoms of spondylosis?
There are several common symptoms of spondylosis including neck stiffness, pain, muscle weakness and sometimes shoulder problems can also occur as a result.
Headaches may also occasionally occur which often start at the back of the head and travel over the top of the forehead.
Spondylosis pain usually comes and goes with flare-ups followed by periods of time without symptoms. Around 1 in 10 people with spondylosis develop chronic (long-term) pain.
More severe symptoms usually occur if associated with a slipped disc or the spinal cord is compressed.
How is spondylosis diagnosed?
Spondylosis can be diagnosed from radiology tests such as X-rays, MRI or CT scans. X-rays can distinguish bone spurs on the spinal vertebrae, thickening of facet joints and narrowing of the spaces between the discs.
What treatment can Farrell Physiotherapy offer for spondylosis?
Following a thorough assessment, your specialist physiotherapist can devise a tailor made treatment plan based on your main problems and what you want to achieve through physiotherapy.
Physiotherapy for spondylosis often includes:
- Soft tissue massage
- Joint mobilisation
- Ice/heat therapy to promote healing
- Postural advice
- Range of movement exercises
- Anti-inflammatory advice
- Progressive strengthening exercises
Sometimes the pain you experience can become so severe you may be referred to your doctor who can refer to a pain specialist or pain centre. Surgery is not common however may be an option in extreme cases where pain is severe.
Benefit of physiotherapy for spondylosis?
There are several benefits of physiotherapy for spondylosis which all help contribute to symptom management including:
- Decreased pain
- Improved range of movement and decreased stiffness
- Increased strength
- Improved function